Prof. Kenneth Berns University of Florida College of Medicine, USA

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Kenneth I. Berns, M.D., Ph.D. recently retired as Director of the Genetics Institute at the University of Florida. Previously he served as Dean of the College of Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs. Dr. Berns has devoted most of his scientific research career to the study of the molecular... read morebasis of replication of the human parvovirus, adeno-associated virus. He has been a major contributor to our knowledge concerning the ability of adeno-associated virus to establish latent infections and to be reactivated. His work has been instrumental in providing the basis for the current interest in the use of this virus as a vector for gene therapy. He also has had a longstanding interest in medical education and has served as a member of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. He is a past member of the Composite Committee of the United States Medical Licensing Examination and is a past Chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Berns has served on many scientific advisory committees including the Genetic Biology Panel of the NSF, the Virology Study Section of the NIH, the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Virology-Microbiology panel of the American Cancer Society (Chair), the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (Chair) of the NIH and the National Advisory Research Resources Council (NARRC) of the NIH. He has also served similar roles for the EPA, the U.S. Army (NRC) and the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Berns is currently a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the CDC and co-chairs the External Laboratory Safety Workgroup. Earlier he served as chair of the National Research Council’s “Standards and Policies for Decontaminating Public Facilities Affected by Exposure to Harmful Biological Agents: How Clean Is Safe?” This committee’s final product, Reopening Public Facilities after a Biological Attack: A Decision Making Framework, was completed in June of 2005. He also served on the Institute of Medicine Committee for Research Opportunities for Smallpox Virus, as well as the National Research Council Committee on the Metropolitan Medical Response to Weapons of Mass Destruction. Finally, he chairs the American Society for Microbiology Committee on Biodefense.

Dr. Berns was an alumni trustee of the Johns Hopkins Board of Trustees 2000-2006 and currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.

He and Laura have a son, a daughter and two granddaughters.